Brexit: The Chequers White Paper

An embattled Theresa May made the proposals in this paper to her cabinet and her Brexit Secretary, David Davis, resigned. Then Boris Johnson resigned as Foreign Secretary to humiliate her further. Trump gave an interview to the Sun trashing May’s proposals and said that Boris Johnson would make a better Prime Minister. He said that he told May how to do Brexit but she would not listen to him. But the catty Mrs May was able to pull one back and Trump repeatedly held hands with her during their joint press conference commending the prime minister as a “terrific woman” and saying that he would want her as a friend and not an enemy and that she was “doing a fantastic job” . The Chequers White Paper and press conference are below. Prior to these events Trump had played disrupter-in-chief at NATO and accused Germany of being a Russian pawn because of its reliance on Russian gas.

Brexit: The Withdrawal Agreement

The draft Withdrawal Agreement of 19 March 2018 includes agreed legal text for the implementation period, citizens’ rights, and the financial settlement, as well as a significant number of other articles. The UK and the EU negotiating teams aim to finalise the entire Withdrawal Agreement by October 2018.

My Dawn Years: Exploring Social Issues

An absolute must read for anyone in media and journalism

It was like coming full circle for veteran journalist and columnist Zubeida Mustafa for the launch of her book My Dawn Years: Exploring Social Issues at The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs (PIIA) on Saturday. “She worked here as a researcher first,” said Dr Masuma Hasan while introducing the journalist, admired and looked up by many present there at the PIIA library lining up for the author to sign their copies of the book. “Later she joined Dawn newspaper and that was really where she built her career,” Dr Masuma continued. Mohammad Ali Siddiqi, Dawn’s Readers’ Editor, joked that recently when in a piece published in the paper he referred to himself as “a Dawn man” he received much flak for it because readers wanted to know if the journalists in Dawn called themselves that then where did the women journalists fit in?

“So we had it corrected in the online version,” he said turning to his former colleague to proudly say that they had worked together for four decades.

“In chapter 12 of her book, Zubeida writes that she has worked with four editors — the legendary Ahmad Ali Khan, who hired her in 1973, Saleem Asmi, Tahir Mirza and Abbas Nasir. But you will come across the mention of Khan Sahab again and again,” said Mr Siddiqi, adding that he was her mentor and mentors became like family members for their mentees. Continue reading

Dr Masuma Hasan’s Welcome Speech: PIIA’s South Asia Peace Conference 2017

 

thumbnail_3Conference on Peace in South Asia: Opportunities and Challenges, 15 – 16 November 2017, Address of Welcome, Dr. Masuma Hasan, Chairperson, The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs. Mr. Mamnoon Hussain, President Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Mr. Muhammad Zubair, Governor of Sindh, Ladies and gentlemen. It is indeed a great honour and privilege for me to welcome you to this session which His Excellency Mr. Mamnoon Hussain has graced with his presence. I am extremely grateful to him for being with us today inspite of other pressing engagements. He is the symbol of the federation of Pakistan and those who are aware of the politics of our country are also aware of the positive role he has played to consolidate democracy in our country. With his wisdom he has shown a deep understanding of international politics and has represented Pakistan at many important diplomatic initiatives abroad.

The Institute has organized this Conference on Peace in South Asia to mark 70 years of its founding. We have chosen the theme of peace not only because of its contemporary relevance but also because of its historic link to the sentiments expressed by Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan when he inaugurated the Institute. In his speech on that occasion he said “That so soon after the establishment of Pakistan, a Pakistan Institute of International Affairs has come into existence is a matter of gratification.” Calling for world peace, he continued, that international affairs effect not only governments; they also effect the people. What happens in one part of the world has its reactions in other parts. If peace is disturbed in one continent it has its effects in another. Continue reading

President Mamnoon Hussain’s Speech: PIIA’s South Asia Peace Conference 2017

Mr. Mamnoon Hussain, President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Address to the “Conference on Peace in South Asia” (Karachi: November 15, 2017). “Bismillah-ir-Rahman-ir-Raheem”. Masuma Hasan, Chairperson, Pakistan Institute of International Affairs, Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Defence and Defence Production, Excellencies, Experts in International Relations—and Respected Ladies and Gentlemen! Assalam-o-Alaikum.

It is a matter of great pleasure for me to participate in this conference on peace in South Asia under the auspices of The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs (PIIA). The foundation of this institution was laid by Quaid-e-Millat Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan. Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan had a very real and deep understanding of contemporary foreign policy issues, especially about peace, stability and progress in South Asia. I still believe that best results can be achieved by following the principles enunciated by Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan and other founding fathers of Pakistan in our quest for regional peace and security. It is encouraging to see deliberation on such matters in the face of modern day challenges and changes in the regional and global landscape, for which I congratulate PIIA and its team. Continue reading

Brexit: Theresa May’s Florence Speech

Prime Minister Theresa May has used a speech in Florence to set out the UK’s position on how to move Brexit talks forward. With further negotiations planned next week, what did her speech tell us about the sort of Brexit deal we might end up with? Reality Check correspondent Chris Morris has been scanning the speech. The BBC’s report is extracted below.


Future of the EU

What’s the significance? It’s worth noting that a lot of Brexit supporters in the UK jumped on Jean-Claude Juncker’s State of the European Union speech last week – in which he set out an ambitious agenda of greater integration – as an example of why they wanted to leave in the first place.

The PM picked up on this – we’re getting out of your way while you move in a different direction that we’ve never felt entirely comfortable with.

That’s good for both of us she implied. It slightly ignores the fact that many EU leaders wouldn’t agree with Mr Juncker’s proposals – but it’s a point that will go down well on the Tory backbenches.  Continue reading

The Rohingya of Pakistan: Burmi Colony in Karachi

This is an excellent write up from Dawn about the Rohingya community in Karachi. As is well known, more than 400,000 Rohingya have fled from Myanmar to Bangladesh because the Myanmar military is burning Muslim villages and driving people from their land. The UN has described Myanmar’s behaviour as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.  feature of 17 September 2017 in Dawn is most informative about the Rohingya in Pakistan. The west’s great heroine, Aung San Suu Kyi has failed to address the situation at all and there have been calls to strip her of her Nobel peace prize. The picture above is from one of the Rohingya villages recently burned by Buddhist monks and Myanmar military forces. 

Pakistani passports hold no value, at least not to those in power.

“Look at the date of issuance, look at it!” exclaims Mohammad.

“July 31, 1954.”

“And they are still asking us to prove our nationality.”

All of us tut-tut in unison. We are seated outside the Arakan Muslim Primary and Secondary School, about nine of us huddled in a circle as life around us moves ahead as normal. This is Burmi Colony, home to about 55,000 Rohingya Muslims in Karachi. There are other colonies in the area that are also housing the Rohingya but this is arguably the largest.

The Burmi Colony is located on the edge of the Korangi Industrial Area, perhaps the mega-city’s largest industrial zone. Apart from products, Korangi and the adjoining Landhi area produce the largest number of low-wage workers settled in small settlements off the main road running across the two zones. Burmi Colony, like the others, is organised along ethnic lines.

The ongoing strife in Myanmar’s Rakhine State targeting the minority Muslim population has shone a light on Karachi’s own substantial Rohingya population. Who are they and what are they all about? Eos finds out…

There are many in the neighbourhood who claim to have arrived in (West) Pakistan well before the formation of Bangladesh. Most Rohingya often identify themselves to officials as Bengalis because this provides them a chance to claim Pakistan citizenship. It is only the recent events in Myanmar which have made them own up to their identity publicly. An elderly grocer who could barely speak Urdu narrates that he arrived in 1965 as a boy. His son is now father to three. Continue reading